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Two musical theatre students perform with New York Philharmonic

by Sydney Hawkins11/14/2017

When the New York Philharmonic comes to Ann Arbor this year for their second major orchestral residency with the University of Michigan’s University Musical Society, two U-M students will take center stage with them at Hill Auditorium Nov. 18.

Jamie Colburn and Jessica Gomes-Ng of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance will perform the roles of Tony and Maria, respectively, in selections from West Side Story as part of one of the Philharmonic’s popular Young People’s Concert series.

The casting extends the second year of the New York Philharmonic’s five-year orchestral residency with UMS to the U-M Department of Musical Theatre, which is one of the top programs in the country and currently the most represented on Broadway.“This is such a great opportunity for the students, who traveled to New York and will be working directly with the New York Philharmonic for this mainstage concert, but also for the Philharmonic, which has the opportunity to see firsthand the incredible talent at the University of Michigan,” said UMS president Matthew VanBesien.

The full Philharmonic residency takes place Nov. 16-19 and is part of “Bernstein’s Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival,” which celebrates the former Philharmonic music director and laureate conductor on the centennial of his birth.

Inspired by Bernstein’s own Young People’s Concerts that were televised from 1958 until 1972, the Nov. 18 Young People’s Concert will explore the composer’s indelible contributions to American concert life, Broadway musicals and opera.

In addition to selections from West Side Story, the program will feature excerpts from Candide, On the Town, Symphony No. 1 (“Jeremiah”) and Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”).

The program that will include performances by Colburn and Gomes-Ng will also welcome Jamie Bernstein, the composer’s daughter, and speaker and pianist Makoto Ozone. Detroit Symphony Orchestra music director Leonard Slatkin will conduct, and Theodore Wiprud will host the performance.

Colburn, a U-M junior working toward his BFA in musical theatre, is the founder and artistic director of Exit Left Theatre Company, located in his hometown of Holland, Mich. His performance credits include Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of “1776,” Encore Musical Theatre Company’s “Sweeney Todd” and Festival 56’s “The Drowsy Chaperone.” At U-M, Colburn has performed in productions of “The Winter’s Tale” and “A Man of No Importance.”

“I was a musician growing up and so was my dad, so it’s not lost on me that I’m going to be performing with some of the top musicians in the world, which is such a privilege,” Colburn said. “What’s even more exciting to me is that, on a personal note, my dad has always talked about watching the original Young People’s Concerts by Leonard Bernstein when he was young, so this performance is really going to be for him.”

Gomes-Ng is a musical theatre senior from Auckland, New Zealand. Recent credits at the university include “One Hit Wonder,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Hotel California,” “The Tempest” and “Big Fish.”

“To say that I’m excited to be performing with the New York Philharmonic is an understatement,” Gomes-Ng said. “And to be performing the role of Maria—it resonates with me not only because of everything happening in the world today, but because of my personal story of overcoming cultural adversity. It’s just such an honor.”

In addition to the Young People’s Concert, U-M students will perform side-by-side with New York Philharmonic musicians in two “Off The Grid” chamber music pop-up concerts.

The Philharmonic’s “Off the Grid” performances—which will take place outside of New York City for the first time as part of the residency—will be held in two unique, secret Ann Arbor hotspots Nov. 16. Space is limited, so free admission will be awarded by lottery. Those interested in attending can register for the lottery before 8 p.m. Nov. 13.

The residency will feature three mainstage performances as well as over two dozen additional free events for the university and the regional community.

past news

March 2014

U-M UpstART Festival Begins 03/31/2014

Students Present "Wall-to-Wall Theatre Festival" 03/27/2014

First-Ever SMTD Chamber Music Competition Launches April 5 03/27/2014

Doctoral Fellow Named MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year 03/26/2014

Theatre Student Lands Major TV Role 03/25/2014

Elizabeth Batiuk (ethnomusicology) has been chosen as a fellow at the Sweetland/Rackham Dissertation Writing Institute for spring 2014 and James McNally (ethnomusicology) received a summer and academic year FLAS for the study of Portuguese.    03/17/2014

Musicology graduate student Elizabeth McLain has been awarded a prestigious Lurcy Fellowship for research in France during the 2014-2015 academic year.   03/14/2014

December 2013

SMTD students Zoe Kumagai, Stephanie Aboukasm, and Adam DesJardins are among students profiled in an LSA article about the "Michigan in Washington" program, in which students intern at various Washington, DC organizations and businesses, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center, and the Washington Performing Arts Society.    12/10/2013

October 2013
August 2013

Evan Zegiel, a sophomore who studies with Fritz Kaenzig, was the First Place winner in the Tuba Student division of the 2013 Leonard Falcone International Euphonium & Tuba Festival.     08/21/2013

July 2013

Professor Ashley Lucas and three Theatre & Drama students are engaged in an intensive exchange program with UniRio in Rio de Janiero, Brazil this summer, where they are blogging about their experiences in UniRio's prison arts program and more.   07/12/2013

November 2011
August 2011
June 2011
Current Student News
21st Century Artist Interns: 2017-18more

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower